Many Kansas towns originated as potential railroad centers. Three miles west of this marker Arkalon was founded in 1888 at the Cimarron river crossing of the Chicago, Kansas and Nebraska railway, a part of the Rock Island. Town lots were cheap, and people flocked in by the hundreds. However, the deep sand of the area was a serious handicap to the movement of horse-drawn freight, and the town never succeeded in establishing itself as a profitable marketing point. It was sustained for years by the large stockyards but by the 1920's most of the population had gone.
The railroad, slowed by a hairpin curve and plagued by flooding on the Cimarron which brought severe damage to equipment and freight, diverted several miles of track from the town to utilize the bridge it erected here in 1939. Called the Samson of the Cimarron, the bridge is 1269 feet long and was considered an engineering marvel of the day. It helped speed the commerce of the Southwest to its destination, and Arkalon to oblivion.
Thirteen miles southwest is Liberal, established on the railroad in 1888, and the Seward County seat since 1892.
The Rock Island Technical Society offers more information about the bridge and its history.
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